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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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July 2, 2008 8:51 PM

Toronto Blue Jays at Mariners: 07/02 game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

miles0702 058.jpg

The Mariners figured out a way to get to Dustin McGowan in the fifth inning. They decided to sick Miguel Cairo on him. Cairo delivered his second RBI double of the game, a two-run jolt to left center, that scored Ichiro and Yuniesky Betancourt to make it 4-2. That's the score now as we head to the seventh. Jarrod Washburn is done, throwing another "quality start" of six innings, two earned runs allowed. He's upping his trade value by the start.

8:28 p.m.: Jarrod Washburn just gave up a two-run homer to Adam Lind in the fifth inning. The game is now tied 2-2. That pitch, a 2-2 offering, was in Lind's wheelhouse. He's one of the few young power hitters the Blue Jays have in their system and just showed it. Washburn gave up three hits in the inning, one of them a single to David Eckstein. The M's went 1-2-3 against Dustin McGowan in the fourth. He's thrown only 56 pitches so far. Time to work some counts. Dare I suggest it?

8:07 p.m.: The Blue Jays loaded the bases in the fourth with two out on a single and two walks given up by Jarrod Washburn. But Washburn came back and fanned Rod Barajas on a 1-2 pitch to escape the inning. So, it's still 2-0 for the M's. Seattle is being outhit 4-3, and outwalked 2-1 but the Blue Jays are as bad at stranding guys as Seattle is.

7:54 p.m.: Seattle just broke through in the bottom of the third to go up 2-0. Miguel Cairo had a chance to redeem himself after that missed bunt opportunity in the first, driving a ball to thge gap in right center for a double that scored Ichiro from first base. Raul Ibanez then chopped one up the middle to bring home Cairo.

Jarrod Washburn is in control so far, giving up hits in all three innings, but not allowing the runners to move up. Washburn is again yielding his share of fly balls, but none are of the dangerous variety. Also notched a pair of textbook (read: easy) double play grounders. Hasn't put one in anyone's wheelhouse. That's command. It's working -- for now.

7:23 p.m.: One inning down and the Mariners have already stranded a runner at second with no out. Ichiro led off with a single against Dustin McGowan, took second on an error by the pitcher as he attempted a throw over to the bag, then was stuck. Miguel Cairo failed to get the bunt down, then wound up striking out. Raul Ibanez hit the ball hard, but it was caught by Vernon Wells in center for the second out. Adrian Beltre then blistered a line drive to center, but Wells caught it. Still no score.

Jarrod Washburn gave up a two-out single to Alex Rios, but Wells grounded out.

Anybody seeing what the Tampa Rays are doing to the Red Sox tonight? Just scored six runs in the seventh inning to go up 7-4. Had been down 4-1. So, how about it? A Cubs-Rays World Series? Lou Piniella returns "home"?

One year ago today, John McLaren took over as M's manager.

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Posted by Sounders

7:31 PM, Jul 02, 2008

Hoi-ohh!!! I'm still here.

Posted by Lola

7:42 PM, Jul 02, 2008

Is it just me, or are people bunting more than usual this season? Maybe I just haven't been paying attention...

Posted by headliner

8:06 PM, Jul 02, 2008

Washburn usually has a meltdown after 3 or 4 innings. Doesn't seem to have the stamina or mentality for a starter.

Posted by Nat

8:09 PM, Jul 02, 2008

A little more bunting, I think. It definitely is more fun to watch when the game is puit into motion than waiting around for someone to go yard.

On trade destinations: personally I hope no one wants Beltre come the trade deadline. This idea of trading him to the Angels has got to be one of the stupidist ideas I've heard. First of all, the Angel's GM is not going to trade away any good prospects.

Sure we could get SOMETHING for him, but no doubt Beltre will be undervalued. As the weather warms up and he gets in a groove and is hitting again, he is just amazing to watch. Every time he comes up to bat I wonder what he's going to do next.

Good to see you commenting again, oregongal-

Posted by GripS

8:19 PM, Jul 02, 2008

headliner...... I was thinking the same thing. As soon as he loses confidence(ie. when someone gets on base). It typically goes downhill for him. He was pretty lucky to get those double plays earlier.

Posted by GripS

8:36 PM, Jul 02, 2008

Wow.....Look at Cairo power hitting. Amazing.

Posted by 11Records

8:55 PM, Jul 02, 2008

Is Jim Riggleman a Wizard?

Like, what the hell is going on? Miguel Cairo with 2 doubles and 3 RBI? A comeback from 4 down yesterday? Beltre's HR on a ball over his head? Willie Bloomquist tearing it up?

This is starting to creep me out a little. I like it though.

Posted by Brett in Bonney Lake

8:58 PM, Jul 02, 2008

I think you are right, Riggleman is a warlock.

It is nice to have all of the people that do nothing but bitch stay away when the team is playing better.

Posted by 11Records

9:05 PM, Jul 02, 2008

Oh - and in 7 starts since May 25 - Wash has thrown 42 innings and given up only 14 runs. That's 6 innings per start and an ERA of 3.

Did I mention I'm starting to freak out.

AND YUNI JUST TOOK A WALK????

S*&T is getting weird, people.

Posted by mtmike

9:18 PM, Jul 02, 2008

Riggleman seems decisive, bringing in Rhodes. Nice to see this bunch showing some life.

Posted by Lucifer

9:28 PM, Jul 02, 2008

Cairo has had a nice night, but one cannot get too comfortable when much remains to be proven. The change in fates attributed to Riggleman may well be his willingness to use his bench something for which McLaren had no clue.

With the exception of Novice, there are few that believed in the value of Willie Bloomquist before last night, however, when he has had a chance to play semi regularly Bloomquist has shown that he can hit for respectable average in the .260 - .270 range. He will never be a power hitter, but every team needs his kind of Jack of all trades value - he plays many positions well and manages to give everything he can on the field of play. Riggleman's increased use of him and Cairo have helped them to become mover involved in the games and given the regulars more rest in key situations. We can also recognize the improved play of Jeremy Reed, who is showing that he has a future with the team. HIs contribution has become meaningful and this is perhaps evident in the way Riggleman is using him. A manager needs to use all of his tools, this is a lesson which is being manifest in Riggleman's tenure, but it was wholly lacking during Mac' service as manager.

Riggleman also appears to have a better command of the game, he is more aware of strategy and tactical deployment of his bench and bullpen. It is, therefore, not surprising to see the team responding more effectively to his awareness of the game. Those folks that think Mac was a nice guy deserving another shot, etc. appear to miss these observations of his inability to get the best of his players due to his failed sense of game management.

So if Riggleman is to be characterized as a wizard or warlock, it more likely due to his deeper understanding of the game and better skills at management. He appears, thus far, to be getting something more from the team - more akin to what we expected at the start of the season - to which McLaren had no idea. Good luck Johnny Mac, but the M's are definitely in better hands under Riggleman.

Salute 11 Records and Brett of Bonney Lake.

Even now we see Riggleman doing that which Mac would not do - pinch running for one of his veterans.

Posted by GripS

9:39 PM, Jul 02, 2008

Hahaha NICE!! Who needs JJ with Brandon Morrow around. That guys pitches are freakin lazer beams. Awesome.

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